In the first major political history of North African Jewry, Michael Laskier paints a compelling picture of three Third World Jewish communities, tracing their exposure to modernization and their relations with the Muslims and the European settlers. Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of this volume is its astonishing array of primary sources. Laskier draws on a wide range of archives in Israel, Europe, and the United States and on personal interviews with former community leaders, Maghribi Zionists, and Jewish outsiders who lived and worked among North Africa's Jews to recreate the experiences and development of these communities.Among the subjects covered:
--Jewish conditions before and during colonial penetration by the French and Spanish;
--anti-Semitism in North Africa, as promoted both by European settlers and Maghribi nationalists;
--the precarious position of Jews amidst the struggle between colonized Muslims and European colonialists;
--the impact of pogroms in the 1930s and 1940s and the Vichy/Nazi menace;
--internal Jewish communal struggles due to the conflict between the proponents of integration, and of emigration to other lands, and, later, the communal self-liquidiation process;—the role of clandestine organizations, such as the Mossad, in organizing for self-defense and illegal immigration;—and, more generally, the history of the North African `aliyaand Zionist activity from the beginning of the twentieth century onward.
A unique and unprecedented study, Michael Laskier's work will stand as the definitive account of North African Jewry for some time.
Michael Laskier served as the Executive Director of the International Sephardic Educational Center, and is currently a professor of history and political science at Ashqelon College of Bar-Ilan University and Beit Berl College in Israel. He is the author of The Jews of Egypt 1920-1970: In the Midst of Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Middle East Conflict, also published by NYU Press.
Michael Laskier tells his story very well. He has done an excellent job of archival work and has related his study of the AIU to the broader issues of government during the Protectorate and Independence periods. There really are no competing works in English, and even the French sources are not quite on point with this work. Lawrence Rosen, Department of Anthropology, Princeton University.
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.
In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.
In this enlightening biography, Joseph Telushkin offers a captivating portrait of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a towering figure who saw beyond conventional boundaries to turn his movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, into one of the most dynamic and widespread organizations ever seen in the Jewish world. At once an incisive work of history and a compendium of Rabbi Schneerson's teachings, Rebbe is the definitive guide to understanding one of the most vital, intriguing figures of the last centuries.
From his modest headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Rebbe advised some of the world's greatest leaders and shaped matters of state and society. Statesmen and artists as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel, and Bob Dylan span the spectrum of those who sought his counsel. Rebbe explores Schneerson's overarching philosophies against the backdrop of treacherous history, revealing his clandestine operations to rescue and sustain Jews in the Soviet Union, and his critical role in the expansion of the food stamp program throughout the United States. More broadly, it examines how he became in effect an ambassador for Jews globally, and how he came to be viewed by many as not only a spiritual archetype but a savior. Telushkin also delves deep into the more controversial aspects of the Rebbe's leadership, analyzing his views on modern science and territorial compromise in Israel, and how in the last years of his life, many of his followers believed that he would soon be revealed as the Messiah, a source of contention until this day.